Soul/Jazz/funk group Rose Ann Dimalanta are rapidly attaining critical acclaim and success in the touring arena, having just finished up their European leg. Their backgrounds alone should be enough to stoke the interest of any music lover: Rose Ann Dimalanta herself was a touring member of Prince’s during his Musicology tour in 2004. Swiss-born drummer, Massimo Buonanno, is one of Europe’s most in-demand musicians and bassist Raymond McKinley is a renowned session musician known for bringing deft technique and personality to the instrument.
The trio came together and have now produced ‘It’s Time’ – a soulful release brimming with advanced musicianship, yet appropriately restrained by the desire to craft brilliant songs first and foremost. The album is a showcase of their interpersonal chemistry and illustrates seasoned pros at the height of their game.
The lively ‘Forever Day by Day’ opens the album on a sophisticated note rooted in a classic jazz progression. The track’s merry bop comes from an infusion of blues, executed by players possessing improvisational finesse. Dimalanta’s sultry vocals are the real seller on this one, however – her performance and tone are instant hooks.
Next up is ’10 Miles to Empty’ – a sleek and stylish number with a relatively minimalist approach. Rose Ann Dimalanta unveils some poetics via a spoken word performance halfway through. Processed through filters – a common production technique with these sections – it seems a tad cliched and superfluous. Otherwise, her vocal riffing is absolutely superb and makes the track what it is.
‘Seven Days’ is the true highlight of the album. Instrumental, it’s a testament to the time and energy the band spent developing an understanding of each other musically. The imaginative key solos carry a retro timbre with them, a certain quirkiness reminiscent of late 80s/early 90s jazz fusion (and even the Sonic the Hedgehog soundtrack…). However, Buonanno’s interpretative and moody drumming is king on this one, dictating what sonic colour the track will take next.
Other notable songs include lead single, ‘No Goodbyein’’, a great throwback to early 90s RnB, and the aptly-titled closer, ‘That’s All’. The latter is a tender farewell that rounds out the full palette of Rose Ann Dimalanta’s vocals on display across ‘It’s Time’.
This one is leagues above the rest for the quality of musicianship and songwriting depth. ‘It’s Time’ is a must for anyone partial to soul, RnB, funk, jazz in its many fusions, or just a plain old music nerd.